Posted: Oct 25, 2012 1:02 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Oct 25, 2012 7:06 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- Wind turbines are becoming a more familiar sight in the Coastal Bend. With the newer technology comes the potential for new emergencies.
One company operating those turbines recently partnered with the Refinery Terminal Fire Company, or RTFC, to handle emergencies.Today, some of the RTFC's firefighters got a look inside the facility.
"We've been operational for 6 months and no incidents, no accidents," said Tibor Hegedus, a representative with Revolution Energy, the company that operates the Harbor Wind turbines located in the Port of Corpus Chrsiti. The wind farm generates enough clean energy to meet the electricity needs of 2,500.
Up close, you realize just how tall these turbines are. The inside of the turbine is about 260 feet high, and when the blade is in the vertical position, it reaches 410 feet.
They're mostly self sufficient, but crews do have to periodically do maintenance on the turbines. "Usually most of the maintenance that is done is all the way at the top," explained Hegedus.
Now that this farm is operational, they decided to partner with the RTFC, just in case of emergencies.
RTFC firefighters are trained in refinery emergencies, but most, if not all had no idea what the inside of this turbine looks like until today.
"Its almost like a chimney inside, without an opening, is what it looks like," said Capt. Matthew Wayne Gunter who toured the turbine today.
The goal for today is to really just get familiarized with the inside of a wind turbine, it's something most of us would not ever otherwise really see. Later on down the line, the RTFC may have more involved training exercises.
They routinely develop preplans at each of their 70 sights. Once that's done, the facilities they partner with usually bring them out to go through drills.
"We will actually exercise the plan that we had and see if it worked and identify weak spots and correct those and you just get better each time," Gunter said.
The agreement the RTFC has right now is just with the 6 turbines at Harbor Winds, located at the Port of Corpus Christi. Contracts with other wind farms in the are could come later.
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